Posted: January 1, 2012, 6 a.m. EST
Q: I have 7-year-old, male ferret that has developed a growth on his back left leg. It just suddenly appeared, and at first I thought he had sliced his foot on something. It does not seem to be hurting him and does not affect his movement. Sometimes the growth is big one day and small the next. His personality has not changed and other than his leg he appears to be his normal, cuddly, bossy self. Any clues as to what it could be and what my treatment options are for him?
A: There are not many conditions in a ferret that would cause a “growth” to be large one day and small the next. It is more likely an area filled with fluid rather than a tissue-filled mass. The question is, what is in the fluid and why does it get larger and then smaller.
This should be an easy problem for your veterinarian to solve. I suggest that you take your ferret to his veterinarian when the mass is enlarged. Then the vet can put a needle into the mass and remove whatever is causing the increase in size. The production of fluid could be caused by a type of tumor, an infection or an abnormality of blood vessels. How this is treated is determined by what is causing this problem.
If this is a benign condition, your ferret may not even need further treatment. It is likely the best way to handle this condition is with surgical removal of the mass and subsequent biopsy of the tissue to get a definitive answer to this problem.
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